Struggling to find the creative spark in your latest project? Try this list of my top five unique places to find inspiration.
Since writing a post on color inspiration, I've been thinking about where I find my overall muse. Of course Pinterest and Instagram are at the top of the list, but sometimes even those holy grails aren't cutting it. I've compiled a list of five places you can go to try to look at the world in new ways and finally get your project started—or finished.
vogue fashion shows
I have dedicated many, many hours of my life to looking at Vogue's pages, and many more saving runway images on Pinterest. But I went until embarassingly recently without knowing that Vogue has an entire visual fashion archive, right at our fingertips and in high resolution, going back decades. Like a particular designer's work? So do I. Good thing I can look up Marchesa, Alexander McQueen, and Chloé by designer. Need to focus in on a particular season? They can do that, too. They've got everything all the way back to Fall 1993. Go forth and bathe in couture.
Marchesa Resort 2018 via Vogue.
Christian Dior Resort 2019 via Vogue.
If you have never used Unsplash, please head there right now and try it! Not only are the images all beautifully edited, but the site is super easy to use and the photos are all completely free to use in any level of design project. Other than Pinterest & Instagram, this is my favorite place to search for images in moodboards and other design material. I've created a bunch of collections that have themes, so feel free to go check some of them out!
museums & libraries
This one is actually related to Unsplash, because a lot of institutions (like the British Library and Birmingham Museums Trust) have free, high resolution public domain works available for viewing, downloading, and using right on their accounts. However, each museum's website should also have some really beautifully curated collections listed digitally on their own websites. The Met has one of my favorite online experiences, but any major museum or library should have some sort of interface.
Something about nail art just inspires me. I think it might be because it is a niche medium, and one that needs a lot of creativity and out of the box thinking. The nail is such a small, confusing canvas! I would suggest visiting some nail polish accounts and websites, like Essie, Smith & Cult, or the absolutely amazing Betina Goldstein.
the magazine rack
This is not a literal magazine rack, though you can head to Barnes & Nobel and hunt down your favorite periodicals that way. No, this Magazine Rack is a completely online archive of almost every theme imaginable. A lot of them are vintage, so they are great for retro or antique inspired projects. My personal favorites are Scientific American (for printing goals and a good laugh), The Strand Magazine (for beautiful etched illustrations), and National Geographic (for overall enjoyment and global inspiration). Vogue is also on there, so you can see not only the runways, but some of the editorials, too. Go find what inspires you!
From Scientific American Vol. 1, No. 1, 1845.
From The Strand Magazine Vol. 1 Jan-Jun 1891a.
And there they are—my top five unique places to find inspiration when Instagram or Pinterest just aren't doing it for you.